Renewed Boko Haram attacks hamper aids to IDPs in Borno

A wave of attacks by Boko Haram on vulnerable communities in Borno in the last one month has forced many humanitarian organizations to suspend supplies of aids to victims of insurgency in the state.

Boko Haram has stepped up attacks on civilians and aid workers in Northeast Borno State since mid-December, forcing more people to flee their homes in search of safety.

On December 13, the terrorists announced that they have murdered four of the six aid workers earlier kidnapped in July in the northern part of Borno State.

The tragic news sent sad message across the international humanitarian community in Nigeria. The aid workers were among the six; five men and a lady, from Action Against Hunger (AAH), an international humanitarian organization, providing aid to displaced victims of Boko Haram in the Northeast until they were abducted by the terrorists on July 19.

United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA) in a statement said that the international body was saddened and outraged by the news of the murder of the aid workers.

Edward Kallon, UN Humanitarian coordinator in Nigeria said that he was “greatly horrified” by the development.

“It is another sad day for the people of Nigeria and the humanitarian community,” Kallon said.

Seven aid workers have so far been killed since 2011 when the insurgents re-launched attacks in the Northeast, according to the UN, while others humanitarian organizations put the figure at 26. The December 13 killing was followed by nearly a dozen of other attacks, including that of six communities of Chul, Rumingo, Lassa, Musa, Kufa and Gwandam in Askira Uba Local Government in the southern part of Borno in mid-December.

Also the insurgents attacked Biu, Borno third largest town on Christmas eve, leading to the death of two persons while about 13 people were injured. About eight people were killed and five kidnapped on Christmas Day along Tuhumshe-Monguno road. Tungumshe, a small community provides access to other neighbourrng towns, including Monguno with about 100, 000 IDPs.

Borno governor, Babagana Zulum described the attacks as worrisome, but assured that government was doing everything possible to improve on the security situation

“The governor shares the pains with victims of these attacks and assured them of his administration’s continued effort in trying to address the security problem,” a statement authored by Zulum’s spokesman, Isa Gusau, said.

Scores of civilians have fled their homes in the wake of all these attacks looking for safety. The attacks have also fueled more displacement of the civilian populace and cut assess of aids to civilians in volatile area.

Action Against Hunger (AAH) said that it was providing food relief to about 300, 000 people in the Northeast, but regretted the recent attacks, including the one on its staff, which has affected civilians access to aids.

It called on Boko Haram to respect the principle of neutrality, which humanitarian actors stand for in conflict situation and ensure aid workers are protected.

“I renew the call for all armed actors to respect the principles of humanity, neutrality, independence, and impartiality which guide humanitarian assistance, and to ensure the protection of aid workers,” AAH said in a statement.

Tunde Alakija, an aid volunteer, said that more humanitarian workers are scared of travelling outside Maiduguri for aid supplies to nearly two million people displaced by the over a decade of Boko Haram violence.

“Many aid workers are scared of travelling even a kilometer outside Maiduguri now for aid supplies. This means many of the IDPs may not have access to foods, medication and other aids,” he told Sunday Sun.

UN said that the upsurge in Boko Haram attacks in Northeast in recent time was affecting aids to civilians.

“The upsurge in violence witnessed over the past years and especially along the main roads over the last six months, is leading to a deteriorating humanitarian situation,” UN chief in Nigeria, Antonio Jose Canhandula, said.

He said that 160,000 people have fled looking for safety and “arriving in already congested camps, stretching a majority of sites to capacity. The Sun

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